Parliament approved the Second Reading of the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill which will outlaw the use of wild animals in travelling circuses from January 2020. I have supported the introduction of a ban in this area for a long time. The use of wild animals in circuses is a cruel practice and has resulted in serious harm to animals, in some cases even causing death. Public opinion is clearly against the practice. A 2010 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs consultation showed that 94.5% of the British public backed a ban.
While I welcome the Government introducing this bill, it has taken too long to get to this point. Both the Coalition Government in 2012 and the Tory Manifesto for the 2015 General Election promised a ban, but it is only now that the Government has actually brought the matter before Parliament. The Labour Party has been clear that our commitment to banning wild animals in circuses is “unequivocal”. Labour will continue to put pressure on the Government to ensure the necessary legislation is passed at the earliest possible opportunity.